The one thing about reading the Bible that has really taken me by surprise is how odd it is. Growing up Catholic, I was told that the Bible (like religion generally) was a perfect example of love, mercy and justice. Even after I lost my faith, I still presumed that the Bible a collection of stories that were created to teach lessons and that there was always a moral to the story (like children’s TV). But reading the Book of Genesis, I can’t make any sense of the stories. They seem to be a random collection of murder, rape, incest and senseless cruelty. Neither God nor humans seem to act with any logic or reasoning, the most bizarre things happen without explanation. Continue reading
If there is a general theme of the early chapters, it is that no one’s plans work out. God’s plan for humanity (whatever it was) is foiled as are human ones. Nothing seems to work for anyone and God himself regrets the entire project of creating humans. It reminds of the quote from a Robert Burns poem that “the best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry”, which is also the inspiration for one of my favourite books, Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck. But I digress.
So Genesis 2 starts with Continue reading
So I think the first page of the Bible is as good as place as any to begin. Chapter 1 of Genesis is probably the best known part of the Bible and most people could tell you that it’s about how God created the world in seven days. Continue reading
The Bible is probably the most influential book on Western civilisation and is the foundation of the world’s largest and most powerful religion. It also has had a major influence on the laws, cultures and traditions of the West, even down to many names and sayings that come from the Bible. However, the Bible is one of those books that is frequently talked about but rarely read, even by religious people. This leads to a great deal of confusion about the nature of God, religion and society in general. The few who do read it are mostly Evangelical Christians and read it from a biased angle that cannot view God as anything less than perfect.
As an Atheist, I hope to offer a different and more critical view. Unlike most, I will not accept everything I read as true or justifiable, but instead examine whether or not the Bible can really be described as “The Good Book”. Continue reading
So I’ve been reading libertarian literature lately, which unsurprisingly glorifies the free market as the solution to all of the world’s problems. Some even take this to its extreme and argue that even police and courts should be privatised and replaced with the free market like doctors and dentists. These Libertarians/Anarcho-Capitalists (the water is a bit muddied between them) are quite vague on what would replace the state (like all utopians they spend far more time denouncing the present than describing the future). The general theme is that security would be like insurance, you pay a fee to a company in exchange for protection. This private police would patrol the streets and solve crimes committed against their clients. In order to retain your business, the company will have to provide the best possible service. Competition will keep the companies honest and prevent warlords or gangs from exploiting the opportunity.
However, there is a major problem with this theory. It has never actually happened. Continue reading
While reading Rothbard recently, I came across an unusual claim of his. He used the example of Ancient Ireland as an example of a libertarian, even anarchist-capitalist society. In fact, it’s the only example he used of libertarian policies actually being put into practice. As someone with a deep interest in my (Irish) history, this struck me as odd. No Irish historian has ever claimed Celtic Ireland was a libertarian society in full or even in part, this claim is only made by Rothbard and a few other libertarian bloggers. So while the internet is full of claims that Ireland was stateless for 2,000 years, (Gerard Casey is a lecturer in my old college of UCD. The video fails to mention that he is a philosopher not a historian. He was also the founder of the Christian Solidarity Party, the most conservative Catholic party in Irish politics, which I would have thought was in conflict with libertarianism) or even 9,000 years (this blog literally takes a blank space and presumes it was anarchist) the evidence doesn’t support this claim. Continue reading
Continuing on from yesterdays post, I have been sharing articles from The North American Review about Esperanto from 1906-9. These offer a fascinating insight into the movement in its early days and the hopes and dreams of its early advocates. Let’s continue this walk through history. Continue reading